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MOU Between Step Parent and Step Children

Discussion in 'Civil Court, Procedure & Litigation' started by twelvegates, May 18, 2021.

  1. twelvegates

    twelvegates Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My elderly brother and his adult stepchildren signed an MOU regarding assets that were jointly held by him and his spouse before her death. (The children had taken their mother, while she had advanced dementia, to an attorney to change the titling of certain assets. Contact with several attorneys indicated it would be very difficult to prove that their mother was unduly influenced as it is tough to prove mental status on a particular day, and my brother didn't find out about what had happened for a couple of years.) So he agreed to sign an MOU that returned control of all previous marital assets to him but placed restrictions of what he could do with the money while he is alive.

    The MOU stipulates that he cannot gift any of these assets to others, but places no restriction on how he uses the money for himself. The MOU contains no language that states he must explain how he uses the money. The stepchildren receive copies of the account statements, so they can follow what goes in and out of his bank accounts.

    Recently, he received another letter from the stepchildren's attorney, asking for an explanation of some large withdrawals. He has not gifted any of the withdrawals and does not feel that he owes anyone an explanation of what he did with the money. He has already responded, through an attorney, to previous requests for explanation of withdrawals. Each time, the answer prepared by the attorney indicated only that all actions were in accordance with the language of the MOU. He is tired of paying an attorney to provide this answer for him.

    Is it best that he continue to use an attorney to explain that he continues to abide by the agreement? He feels as though he is being harassed by continually accounting for withdrawals. Would it be unwise for him to respond to the questions on his own by stating that he continues to follow the MOU? Can he say that this will be his last communication on the matter and any future request for information needs to be in a hearing before a judge? Or should he just stop responding, since the MOU does not require him to explain his withdrawals?

    The MOU also contains language that if either party takes any MOU issue to court and loses, the loser pays all of the associated costs. But it doesn't say anything about paying attorney costs for continually asking these questions or the costs of paying for a deposition, should he receive a subpoena to do so.
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    The arrangement sounds extremely peculiar. Your brother ought to ask his attorney how to bring an end to this.
     
    army judge and twelvegates like this.
  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    There's a lot of unclear stuff in here, but what I really want to know is why, for most of this paragraph, you referred to "assets" but suddenly switched to "money" at the very end. Are these "assets" anything other than cash? If so, in what sort of account(s) is the cash located?

    I think it would also be helpful if you provided the following information:

    1. You said that the "assets" "were jointly held by [your] brother and his [deceased] wife." If that's the case, how and in what way did the stepchildren "change the titling of certain assets"?

    2. How long ago did the wife die, and what is the status of the probating of her estate? Did she have a will?

    3. You've indicated that the stepchildren have an attorney. Does your brother? Sounds like he does at the present time, but did he sign the MOU on advice from an attorney?

    None of the anonymous strangers who post here could possibly form an intelligent opinion about any of this (aside from the generic opinion that having an attorney is always better than not having one).

    Can he say this? Of course he can. You didn't really think the answer might be otherwise, did you? If the question you intended to ask was whether such a response would be a good idea, again, no one here could possibly know. That said, does your brother really want to invite court action?

    All of the above being said, I think your brother should consult with and probably retain the services of a local attorney to advise him about all this.
     
  4. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I thought I said this...
     
  5. twelvegates

    twelvegates Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I'm sorry that I haven't been as clear as was necessary. I'm in my 80s, so no spring chicken. It appears that he should stick with an attorney. Perhaps the advice that the attorney can put an end to the inquiries is something he will bring up. Thanks for your help.
     

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